Prepare for business threats by knowing your enterprise inside out

By: Albert McKeon


Evolving technology has enabled companies to work efficiently, flexibly respond to business demands and drastically lower operational costs. But what technology gives, it can also take away: Digital interconnectedness creates an unprecedented number of business threats.

In a cloud-driven, mobile-required, data-sharing age, businesses quickly adopt the technologies that allow them to thrive but don’t always take the time to plan for downsides such as data breaches and inside threats. It’s imperative for your business to pause the hectic flow of work and reflect on the most potentially damaging operational threats. Creating a list of potential disasters and knowing what steps your enterprise can take after these almost-inevitable interruptions of business will set you up for success, even in the face of failure.

To get your business started on that list, here are three prevalent threats like cyber-attack and ransomware attack to business continuity and some considerations on how to prepare for them.

Beware of unprotected devices as big business threats

Bring-your-own-device (BYOD) has revolutionized business, enabling employees to increase productivity by accessing business applications and files from anywhere at any time. But the dark side of BYOD gives IT and security pros nightmares: They’re unable to have complete visibility on the many wireless networks employees use outside of the office. Employees usually don’t think twice about connecting with public Wi-Fi networks at coffee shops, hotels and airports, but that’s where cybercriminals use man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks to intercept the internet connection and gain access to the information transmitted — opening the door to your business data.

Is your existing IT prepared for digital transformation? — IBM Optimize IT Services

Because of its inherent risk to data and business applications security, BYOD should take front seat in your disaster recovery plan (DRP). To ensure company data can be retrieved from your employees’ many devices in case of a disaster, enforce scheduled backups. Make it a simple process so employees won’t object, but be certain data securely reaches your cloud. And it goes without saying that your enterprise should know the devices your employees use for work. Take a BYOD inventory monthly, even more frequently if you have the time, and assess if the devices are properly configured.

Harness the full power of your core business applications

React promptly and wisely to data breaches

A data breach now costs $4 million on average, as Fortune reports. Cybercriminals cause the majority of breaches, but threats can also come from the inside, via disgruntled employees and contractors with privileged access aiming to bring down a company with the theft of data.

No matter how your data is breached, your company has to act immediately, and an incident response team is the best place to start. Stock your response team with IT pros who quickly and directly assess the damage, and take the necessary steps to halt unauthorized access. Include executives who will have to make top-level decisions without hesitation. Because breaches diminish brand reputations, public-relations personnel should be prepared to honestly and clearly explain the cause and extent of your breach and its potential effect on customers and partners.

Granted, every breach is unique, but how well your organization responds not only can close the chapter on that incident but will also provide insight on how you can handle future breaches.

Learn more about: What is a data breach and how to defend against one?

Prepare for anything

You can first prepare for the aftermath of a flood, fire, hurricane or other natural disaster with a thorough, point-by-point plan that considers how employees will communicate and exchange data without access to applications and servers. When you’re connected, it’s easy to take this for granted, but after a disaster, it’s crucial to get business back to normal as quickly as possible.

Also, know the true resiliency of your cloud environment. Whether it’s in-house or through an outside service, effective cloud disaster recovery won’t force you to start from square one or abandon business altogether. Test your disaster recovery plan (DRP) at least twice a year, simulating the likely point of failure and then responding. See if your plans work, and don’t hesitate to tweak or drastically change them before it’s too late.

Planning for business threats will not only prepare your organization for the worst — it will also let you see any operational holes while the going is good.

Ready to take the next step? Schedule a consultation with an IBM Business Continuity Services expert.

Related topic: Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS)

In depth: business continuity topics

Understand how to plan for and react when business disruptions are happening.

Adapt and respond to risks with a business continuity plan (BCP)
How to defend against cyber attacks
Do you have your disaster recovery plan (DRP)?
Defend against ransomware attacks
What is a data breach and how do you defend against one?
What is a recovery time objective (RTO) and how does it affect disaster recovery for your enterprise?
What is a recovery point objective (RPO)?

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About The Author

Albert McKeon

Freelance Writer

Albert McKeon covers technology, health, business, politics and entertainment. He previously worked as a newspaper reporter for 16 years on the staffs of The Telegraph (N.H.) and Boston Herald, winning the New England Press Association’s Journalist of the Year award and other honors. He now writes as a freelancer for several magazines and news outlets,... Read more